"The greatness and the genuine trait of your thought and writings lie on the fact that you positively and interestingly make use of philosophical thoughts and thoughtfulness in order to deeply and concretely cogitate about America's social issues. . . . This does not mean that your thought is reducible to your era: your thought, being inspired by issues characterizing your era . . . , overcomes your era and will still likely be up to date even after your era, for future generations." Bruno Valentin

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Starbucks’ CEO Triggering Conversations on Race

Should a company’s CEO use the vast tentacles of the local retail stores to prompt public discourse on race in America? Even though improving race relations is a good cause, extending a CEO’s personal influence beyond the products societally requires its own justification. For a week in March 2015, baristas at 12,000 Starbucks coffee shops implemented CEO Howard Schultz’s intent to “spark customer conversation on the topic of race.”[1] Schultz even made a video in which he told the baristas how they should steer their respective conversations. If this sounds a bit like George Orwell’s Big Brother in the novel, 1984, the question may be whether such societal influence is legitimate from a position of management in business.

Perhaps Shultz ought to devote some time to figuring out some better places for electric outlets in the stores. The middle-underside of a long table is not so good on knees. Put another way, if the management can't get something as simple as that right, what makes them think they can manage conversations on a controversial issue? 

The complete essay is at "Under Starbucks' Star."